Covid-19: Kogi govt. attacks NCDC boss over comments

Covid-19: Kogi govt. attacks NCDC boss over comments

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 1:26 pm

Richard Elesho/ Lokoja

The Kogi State Government has insisted that the State is free from the ravaging Coronavirus and accused Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director General of National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC of an unfair attempt to discredit, shame and defame her records. The government berated the NCDC boss
over recent unsavoury comments he allegedly passed on states which are yet to report any case of the virus. This is the content of a statement by Kingsley Fanwo, the State Commissioner for Information and Communication.

Ihekweazu had in reports allegedly insinuated that states which are yet to record cases of COVID-19 are either negligent in testing and tracing, or actively hiding, the disease within their territories. But Fanwo wondered if states are in a competition on who harbours the highest infection of the lethal virus

The statement reads in part:
“Kogi State confesses that she is not aware the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria is a one-legged race to see which state can put as many cases as possible into the national incident basket, and even if such were to be the case, the current administration in Kogi State does not play such games with the lives and psychology of her people.

“The Governor of Kogi State does not believe that increasing the burden on the overwhelmed NCDC and the other agencies cum resources labouring in the frontlines of our response to this deadly pandemic, when neither case nor cause for such has genuinely risen in the state, is helping the country in any way. 

“Kogi State has religiously followed all the NCDC and World Health Organization (WHO) CoviD-19 advisories, both for identifying cases and preventing spread. 

“We have also adhered strictly to the various guidelines from, and directives of, the Federal Government, customised to improve both efficiency and efficacy within the peculiarities of our own circumstances. 

‘While we are not surprised that they have worked for us so far in keeping our state CoviD-19 free, we do find it disconcerting that the lead agency in the fight is possibly expressing doubt in their efficacy while simultaneously denouncing us for following her own guidelines. 

Fanwo reiterated that the state built a “self-assessment app hosted at around the NCDC’s checklist for ‘suspected and high risk’ cases and as at last week it has been visited nearly 200,000 times with over 14,000 completed self-assessments out of which only about 60 presented cause for further investigation which then failed to meet the Covid-19 spectrum. 

“As of today we insist that Kogi State has no confirmed case of Covid-19, or any case to the knowledge of our vigilant medical structures across the state which matches the suspected or high risk factors for it. If the situation changes at this very moment we shall not hesitate for a second before alerting the NCDC. 

Fanwo hinted that the State cannot be intimidated. “Convinced that we have not erred in any way to deserve censure from a body we have obeyed without complaint, even when the result has been serious disruptions to our society and way of life, we however reiterate that we shall not capitulate to intimidation of any kind.

“We are thus left with no choice than to issue this rejoinder, both for the records, and to avoid being unfairly victimised or stigmatised howsoever the highly fluid coronavirus curve/situation develops in future. 

“Such comments as were attributed to Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu in the offending news reports, if indeed the NCDC head was not misquoted by a mischievous newsman, can only be described as unfair, unfortunate and dubious. 

“What informed the position of Dr. Ihekweazu that states not yet affected with the virus in Nigeria are hiding cases or was he expressing an expected outcome? 

According to Fanwo, some proactive measures like the said, mass sensitisation, early enforcement of social distancing were factors that boosted the Covid-19 war in the State.

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